Writing Exercise – Dialogue

Dialogue

Using the photo on the left to inspire you, write some dialogue between the two girls.

Keeping prose to an absolute minimum aim for 300 words or so. Like any short story, work in the beginning, middle and end.

 Aspects to consider, other than the topic of conversation, include:

  • What do they sound like? Voice has pitch, accent, speed of delivery etc
  • How will their mood impact their speech pattern and language?
  • Do they speak like stereotypical teenagers, innit, or are they highly articulate?
  • Are they friends or relatives, and do they get on well?
  • Why are they having this conversation?
  • What slang do they use?
  • What does all the above say about their location, upbringing, education, parental and peer influences?

 Hints & suggestions:

  • Thrash out a lite character for each girl. Use this to inform the dialogue.
  • If you’re stuck to start, use the first line of dialogue you hear, be it on the TV, radio, a passing stranger or a family member, and use it either literally or as inspiration.
  • Use an incident in your own childhood – if you are male, would this translate well to a female perspective without having to change anything?
  • If they have a specific accent avoid writing every word in the accent, restrain yourself to using it on the odd word, too much can exclude the reader.
    • ie: ‘Ar, tha’s as mebbe‘ works better as ‘Ar, that’s as maybe‘.
  • If you find writing dialogue a challenge, sit somewhere public like a coffee shop, close your eyes and just listen, ok, eavesdrop, for a few minutes. Set an alarm if this helps. Yes, you’ll probably look like a loon, but it’s none of their business and get on with it. Then listen with a pen in hand and write what they say as completely as possible. Observe and learn the rhythms.
 When you’re ready:
  • Read the text back to yourself out loud. Does it sound right? If you want it to bounce along or make the reader (listener) feel awkward, does it? If not, change it.
  • Get two people to read the dialogue.
  • Amend and repeat until you, and others, feel you’ve cracked it.
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